30" Gas Ranges: Porter & Charles/Viking/GE Monogram

lisepomeroyDecember 9, 2013

Went shopping yesterday. We live about 3 hours from Toronto, so we don't "get to the city" very often.
The place we went to had these 3 ranges to offer within our budget. The more we learn, the less sure we are of what to choose.
Viking VGCC5304BS $3999
Porter&Charles FEG76B $2999
GE Monogram ZGP304NRSS $3859

We haven't looked at the Kitchen Aid - that store didn't carry them.

Can't find any user reviews on the P&C. (it is made by AEG)

We would like to make a decision soon.

The P&C has stainless under the burners for clean up. The other 2 have black enamelled steel.
GE has a self cleaning cycle, P&C has continuous, Viking none. P&C has 5 burners, the others 4.

Any info good or bad you have on these or any others we should look at will really be appreciated.

Thanks.

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scole250

The Viking appears to have the best burner configuration; an 18K BTU burner and three simmer-to-15K BTU burners. That will keep you from moving pots around. No self clean oven is a bummer. I've heard rumors, but no specifics, about issues with Viking 30" ranges though.

Not familiar with P&C, but some of the burners look a little under powered. Just my opinion, but I think 5 burners on a 30" cooktop is crowded, at least when you have something on the center burner and something on any other burner.

The GE burner config is not bad. All burners appear to go low enough to simmer, but it only has one high output burner. I actually considered the GE Monogram duel fuel version of the 30", but the pricing I was offered was much higher than what you were quoted.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 3:20PM
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deeageaux

The historic German appliance manufacture ,AEG, ceased operations in 1996.

In 2005, Sweden's Electrolux purchased the brand name out of bankruptcy court.

Electrolux allows other manufactures to make appliances using the brand name AEG under license.

The best deal in Canada for a 30" gas range is the Bluestar RCS from Costco Canada. It has open burners that direct heat to the bottom of the pan instead of sealed burners that direct heat to the side and up. Its 15k btu burners will outperform Vikings sealed 18 btu burners.

$2400 shipping included. Bluestar is headquartered and manufactures ranges in Reading, PA. USA

Here is a link that might be useful: Costco Canada

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 4:30PM
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scole250

Do all the Blue Star burners go down to the low simmer or just the one? If just the one, how low (in BTUs) do the 15K BTUs go down to? Low enough to simmer?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 6:49PM
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barryv_gw

Scole, it is pretty hard to quantify how low burners can go - simmer depends on the conductivity of the pan and other factors. When properly adjusted, the 15 k BS burners go pretty low, the dedicated simmer goes even lower. There are some youtube videos that show the various burners, but again, there is no real rating system that will tell you how low a heat a burner can put out.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 8:33PM
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lisepomeroy

deeageaux,
This is what Costco is offering here: NXR 30-in. 4-burner Stainless Steel Professional Gas Range for $1800. No Bluestar.
Thoughts on that?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 8:55PM
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jwvideo

I'm not deeageaux, but numbers of us here have purchased NXRs. There are several long and detailed threads discussing the pros & cons of the brand. Well worth reading if you are interested.

Basically, the NXRs are the least expensive pro-style range you can buy in the US. Deeageuax was initially a pretty harsh critic of the early NXR's because of suspicion that it might be cheap Chinese crapola. For the most part, I think he agress \that NXRs have been pretty fine stoves for the money.

And "for the money" is the critical phrase here. I think Deeageuax will agree that the NXRs are aimed at a different market segment than the Blue Stars. Think of the Blue Star as a Dodge diesel pick-up while the NXRs are more akin to a Subaru Forester or maybe a Hyundai sedan.

Maybe a little less extreme than those differences, but you get the idea. Actually, I think the NXR does compete with some pro-style ranges but the competiton is with the sealed burner premium brands like Viking and Dacor and Maybe DCS rather than open-burner ranges like Blue-Star and AR.

Again, I invite you to read the long threads (some going back to 2009) which are pretty informative. I've been happy with my NXR for the year and half since I got mine from Costco, but it does have some limitations that may or may not matter to you.

Basic differences between the NXR and Blue Star --- other than price --- different tops (cast-iron on the Blue Star but plain stainless steel on the NXR), differnt burners (BS with potentially higher-powered open-star pattern burners, NXR with "dual stacked" sealed burners) and oven size (Blue Star has one of the larger oven capacities available in a 30" range -- can fit a full size 16x26 sheet pan) while the NXR is more akin to the ovens in Electrolux ranges. Also, Blue Star has something of a fanboy cult following which the NXR lacks. (But, come to think of it, I don't think I've run across fanboy cults for Hyundai's either. That may be an advantage to being a bit down-market.)

Actually, for me, with a $2k stove budget, the competitors for the NXR were induction ranges and GE Profile gas ranges. Except for not having a self-cleaning oven, I like my NXR more than its predecessor, a GE Profile dual fuel.

While most reviews of the NXR have been very postive --- kind of a Subaru/sensible shoes crowd --- there have been some complaints. Most of the complaints about the NXR seem --- so far --- to be the result of shipping damage and uneven warranty service. Experiences have ranged from just fine to abysmal. Read bmorpanic's woeful saga of trying to get the company to fix or replace an obvious case of shipping damage -- a tale bad enough that recently got her stove bought back and is getting a Dacor. There are plenty of us who haven't had such problems, but caution tells me that I would buy a small brand stove only from a vendor like Coscto who has an absolute satisfaction, full money-back guarantee.

I do not mean to suggest that Blue Star has been immune from these kinds of warranty problems. Do a search and you'll find that there are some postings here from very unhappy owners,

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 10:43PM
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lisepomeroy

Thank you so much for your response. I only looked at BS because I thought costco sold them. I just finished reading all of the Bmore threads (and I thought I was going to bed early!) What a saga! But I couldn't stop reading. So nice that she had support here!
If I order one I will know what to look for during the inspection.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 10:53PM
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lisepomeroy

PS. JWVideo, I drive a Subaru Forester!

What about the Electrolux Icon DF 30"? 4 racks?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 11:41PM
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jwvideo

Don't have any first hand experience with the Elux, but the specs and pictures definitely seem to have taken aim at Viking's market share. At $3700, it isabout what I would pay for a ten-year old forester with $140,000 miles on it. It is twice the price of the NXR.

Looked at AJ Madison and got the following initial impressions. Seems to have the same size oven as the NXR but, being electric, has more options and features inclding self-cleaning. Nice racks. Of course, as Deeageaux has often pointed out, the extra oven electronics mean there is more to break and what breaks will be more expensive to fix.(With the NXR, most of what will wear out is stuff you can fix yourself with off-the-shelf generic components available from a local parts house).

From the photos at AJ Madison, it seems as though the top is either black painted or black ceramic rather than cast iron. Some poeple like that design, other do not. Apparently, the surface burnes can be lighted with a match in the event of power outages. (The unpowered electronics on some less expensive Icons prevented that, as some found out in the wake of the infamous Sandy.)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 2:46AM
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